Our Leader here in Italy

11/06/2011 - 02:04

"Mr Berlusconi told Italian television: "Life in Italy is good. The restaurants are full. It's difficult to get a seat on a plane they're so busy; holidays are all booked up."There you go then, no financial crisis here !?S


........particularly because the propaganda machine is after him, and as with any successful propaganda campaign the bandwagon fills up very quickly, whether the claims are justifiable or not. For my part, I don't know whether an alternative would do any better, other than satisfying the public lust for change in the hope of a better outcome.

I do not think that changing governments, and this applies not only to Italy, will bring any benefits to anyone. At the same time, this is a crisis that stems from a profoundly wrong economic system and we cannot blame specific people in government for this collapse. It is incredible to see how the stock exchange, throughout the world, reacts to any speculation, which convinces me that all what they are doing is gambling as if they were in a big, global casino. The problem is that the number of players is very small, but we, the ordinary people, pay for the damage they cause. We all need substantial reforms as the current system is not working. 

  "We all need substantial reforms as the current system is not working".  Good luck with that - Wall Street controls the whole system and it suits them to have Europe in some semblance of disarray - it makes their own situation less functionally parlous, as they are trading against weakened currencies. Bear in mind that bond markets respond directly to whatever the ratings agencies decide to put out. And guess which street they are controlled by. Italy may be in a state - in reality, very similar to the mid '90s - but it ain't necessarily so.  

I agree, Sprostoni. But then... whose interest are they serving? On the other hand, I will not put the blame on Wall Street alone, SirTK. We nicely got ourselves into this mess we are in. We could say that it all started with the American "toxic" mortgages, but then, the European banks copied the system, gave away big mortgages to people who would not normally qualify and over properties which were worth only a fraction of the money they were lending and also bought those toxic American "investment packages"... Ambitious young brokers were allowed to play "roulette" with little or no supervision (at least this is what the banks say). It's absolute madness!!!! Well, according to an old Mayan prophecy, the world is coming to an end on the 21st of December 2012, so perhaps we do not have to worry that much. It will sort itself out then...devil

Gala Placidia, lots of people have been living beyond their means for years............sad world at present. On another front.............I see that there has been a MASSIVE (3 times the size of the earth !!! gulp !) sunspot/solar flare in the last few days, it could effect communications here on the ground ! Also, I came across a photo of the devastation in Genoa today..................blimey !!! I'm not sure how to link to it, very bad.......... S

"the European banks copied the system" Gala, with respect, European banks didn't gaze across the ocean and decide to copy what they saw going on there - they were sold it in the same way that anything else is sold, from double glazing to frozen peas. The banking industry worldwide was caught up in a frenzy of excitement borne out of near-zero regulation, fuelled by target-led sales people who didn't fully understand what they were selling, just like the buying banks didn't know what they were buying. When Lehmann's fan eventually got hit, the whole house of cards fell down. As of now, Italy's saving grace is that the level of household indebtedness is much lower (than UK for example), meaning that there is capacity for household spending to assist any return to growth. But in an economy where growth is traditionally a rare commodity, any future growth is being impeded by the burgeoning public debt caused by the ratings agencies and the propaganda machine - bad rating equals higher interest rate, which means less money to invest in growth. QED. What is becoming clear is that the delightfully quaint Italian way of refusing to join the modern, thrusting, profit-or-die rat race is not what the Eurozone wants and needs. Terry a quick p.s. re Sprostoni - and Gala again. The media do not generate propaganda, their job is only to spread it. Nor do they necessarily serve anyone's interests except their own. Same as all the other people selling stuff. 

Ordinary people would have expected that someone, perhaps the respective governments or the same banks would have said, much earlier, that what they were doing was wrong and dangerous. Nobody said anything until it was too late. And this huge debt affects everyone, as we will pay for it through increased taxes, etc. The press.... they publish whatever suits them and what they can sell. I do not think that there is accurate and impartial reporting. We are lucky that we do not have a mortgage to repay and that we bought our properties wisely and at a fair price, but I do feel for all those families who are suffering the consequences of what is going on. Perhaps they lived beyond their means, but they were actively encouraged to do so. We live between Italy and Spain, and we go very frequently to France and to the USA. As we talk to the locals we see the depth of this crisis. And we get angry and frustrated. Perhaps it is about time to join the "indignant movement" and protest... On the other hand, I do not see much leadership or brains behind that movement. Time will tell.

Sir TK 'nail on Head'.... the bottom line to all this is just GREED, pure and simple, whether it's consumers wanting every thing they see on TV (new phone, better Car, latest computer) or Finance houses wanting to 'give' you credit or a mortgage. Commerce is what turns the wheels, and gives you jobs; unfortunately our society fuels this wanton lust for better 'Stuff' and sooner or later the Circle of Credit completes itself and we have what we have now. It will reset itself and the Status Quo will return but remember you've only got a year or so to go so Spend Spend Spend before it ALL ends.

The only silver lining in the grey economic cloud hanging over Italy at the moment is that Berlusconi may finally be forced out of office. Who wants an ostrich with head firmly buried in sand for a prime minister?

"The only silver lining in the grey economic cloud hanging over Italy at the moment is that Berlusconi may finally be forced out of office. Who wants an ostrich with head firmly buried in sand for a prime minister?" The thing that worries me is ......"Who will take over?" Mr B may be pretty useless - but who is the credible alternative?

I think that most of us will agree that Mr B is an embarrassment; however, it is difficult to see who would be prepared to take over and get Italy into a safer position. Right now, anything can tip the very precarious balance and stability is a most precious commodity. Too many vultures and jackals are waiting. This applies not only to Italy but to all those economies which are at risk. In these cases, perhaps it may be a case of "better the devil we know...."

So - the EZ big honchos have got it in for him - I don't say they are wrong. but he is simply a figurehead for a deiinquent government. Finally, today, the Italain treasury hes effectively put its money where its mouth is, and 'pulled' a bond auction. Now, unless the 'markets' are truly feral and crazy they SHOULD understand this move as massively significant. What is 'says' is that Itlay is truly solvent, and the 'attacks' (which I believe them to be) are opportunistic. So - do we need your overpriced money? - I don't thnk so - this is the bluff which the  treasury is calling. I do hope that this intelligent move might just avoid european armageddon. The Greeks lying down and getting their tummy tickled - well -does not cut it with me.

"today, the Italian treasury hes effectively put its money where its mouth is, and 'pulled' a bond auction. .................. What is 'says' is that Italy is truly solvent, and the 'attacks' ............. are opportunistic." I hope I'm wrong, but I find it difficult to understand [looking from the outside] how anyone thinks Italy is 'truly solvent', and I would expect that the 'attacks will increase until a rigorous programme of austerity measures etc is introduced in Italy.  I'm not holding my breath in anticipation of such changes happening soon

Agreed Fillide. It's all very well people joining the bandwagon that is trying to sink Berlusconi, but they shouldn't forget that not very long ago he had the support of more than 70% of the electorate, which is much more than Merkel, Sarkozy, Cameron and Obama could muster. And he was well known to the electorate from long before that. Suddenly the propaganda machine tells us that he's a buffoon who must be removed at all costs. Now where have I heard that before? With all the world's voices baying for his removal, people are gulled into believing there is no hope for Italy, therefore it's Bonds can't be trusted. Which means that they can only be sold at discount, which means the percentage interest commitment owed by the Government increases, now to an almost untenable level. For my part it's market manipulation, engineered by a campaign to undermine confidence in Italy, using Berlusconi as an easy target. I don't necessarily condone his behaviour, but he's always been the same, and used to enjoy massive support whilst being the way he is. It's only quite recently that his behaviour is being claimed to be dangerous to the long-term validity of Italian bonds, which is patent nonsense. So of course he is bound to go, because the machine says he has to, no matter what the quality of the replacement. And I'm old enough to remember the "quality" of those who were in power before - now they really were a threat to Italy's long-term future. 

In reply to by SirTK

Did he really have the support of 70% of the electorate?  Or of those who voted?  Either way, there have been many unsavoury characters over time who were able to muster huge support: it didn't make them any more "savoury". And controlling most of a country's media helps any leader enormously. I hope the first action of any new regime is to break up his monopoly - otherwise he'll continue to wield power - without any accountability at all

Far more worrying than his "media monopoly" is the political "monopoly of corruption" and nepotism, and clientelism, which is Italian politics. Completely agree with SirTK that the media insistence that the bond markets would all be wonderful again if only Berlusconi, and Papandreou, bit the bullet! Well, that didn't happen, did it. Time for study of the political bit towards the end of this very funny animation. Anybody got any ideas on the SBK to spread on those roots? http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/italy   

It has been happening since the crisis started. Most people seem convinced that the solution is to get rid of the head of government of the particular country that is in trouble. It happened with each one of the PIGS... well, Spain, although we were good kids and did what we were told, poor Zapatero will finish his "reign" on November 20th when we will have general elections. A few months ago he announced that he was not seeking reelection and his successor, Rubalcaba, does not appear to be the winner. The power will go to the hands of the leader of the opposition, the conservative Rajoy. Italy was not on the list, but managed to make it... Now, my question is: Killing the messenger or findig a scape goat for our woes would be the ultimate solution? Were all these heads of government guilty of throwing the EU into desarray? Is their demise going to fix anything? Don't get me wrong. I never liked Mr B. Everyone of those who had to go were somehow guilty... at least of negligence. And what about the big decision makers. Should they also go? Chopping heads is not going to get us anywhere. On the contrary, it could cause further imbalance and turmoil. It would be like simply giving an aspirin to a cancer patient.

I haven't seen anything in the Italian press saying Mr B is not resigning. Where have you seen that Anne? He said he is not standing in the next elections but is still resigning after the growth budget is passed which they reckon will be in the next couple of weeks.

...I don't think (absolutely not) that "killing the messenger" solve the complex italian situation.. BUT it is really unbelievable to read about people who, in a way or the other, are able to justify Mr. Berlusconi....my personal opinion is: better giving an aspirin (if this is what you can do at the moment) to a cancer patient, than leaving him to die without doing nothing.

I hold no view on the details of Italian politics, but am assured that finding an alternative to the incumbent regime may prove "difficult". As in many other parts of the world where change of leadership has been engineered by "the machine", rather than allowing the country to sort itself out.

  Forgot who said these great quotes:  ‘’the quality of an individual is reflected in the standards they set for themselves’’ and ‘’Power Corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.’’ Or in the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt -‘’when you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on’’…no perhaps not applicable for SB laugh Profiles: Potential Berlusconi successors With Italy under pressure to stimulate its economy by passing unpopular reforms, one proposal is to form a new, unelected, technocrat government. Similar cabinets enacted reforms and overcame economic crises in the 1990s. Another scenario sees Silvio Berlusconi's coalition government remain in office but under a new leader. Here, the BBC News website looks at some of the names being mentioned as a potential new prime minister. CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE  

On the Italian news tonight it seems a done deal that Napolitano will ask Mario Monti to head a technical interim government. He has just made him a life senator in order to facilitate that. Seems like the budget may be passed as quickly as Monday. The sticking point seems to be elections and I haven't seen anything concrete about when these would be.

In reply to by Penny

The confirmation of this chap's elevation to 'Senator for Life' was greeted with absurd delight by the radio station IlSole24h - not a Berlusconi puppet. It made me a bit happy, I must say, because just possibly (given that Napolitano the President of Italy was shouting at the newswires that Berlusconi had irrevocably resigned) Italy may, within a couple of days, be ruled by a techincal government. Actually, I doubt it will make any difference to the rottweilers who trade Italian govt bonds, but if it does - well, hey - Monti is a banker! So that's maybe a good thing for the bond markets, and which democrat is going to say it's a bad thing for Italy? Worse, the only (very small) 'political party' in Italy which appears to have a brain cell (Italia dei valore) has said it won't work with Monti. So back to cats in a sack Italian politics.

  The secret of Silvio Berlusconi's success 9 November 2011  

He says he hates to be hated, but I think he will be remembered as a great corrupter”

Professor Giovanni Sartori,Political scientist   Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi has signalled that his days in power are coming to an end. Despite repeated gaffes and scandals, he won three elections and set a postwar record for the length of his premiership. The BBC's David Willey, who has covered Italian politics for four decades, asks how he did it. Over the past century Italy has had no lack of troublesome leaders. Silvio Berlusconi, who has been the dominant figure in Italian politics for the past 17 years, is the latest on the list. He has been the object of at least 23 judicial investigations, mostly for corruption. He has been heard speaking on YouTube, giving sex advice to a prostitute, Patrizia Addario, who had a hidden tape recorder under her breakfast napkin after a night of group sex. Article continues here  

its all about confidence, and Berlusconi didnt enjoy the confidence of anyone - other than his acolytes and his own supreme sense of self importance.   It was all very well saying, 'we will do this and that' but in the last 3 years the government has done absolutely nothing.   The new budget is jsut a rehash of what was already law.   No Italian politician wants to do anything that may lose a vote - a winning vote in the elections nets you 1 euro so its a grand money making machine - hence the Bossi threats on pensions.   Personally, I think elections will only make the situation worse, and a technical govt is the best idea, and Napolitano seems to be in favour of this move - Monti is acceptable to most, (Bossi excepted), and is held in huge regard by Europe.  Also what Monti does, wont reflect on a party per se, so when there are elections, it will be hard to hold a grudge,  especially with the goldfish memories of voters.    The right is set to implode, as will the left - so a technical govt is the only way forward - at least it can make some unpopular decision (reimpose ICI, tax on foreign bank accounts and patrimonio), and electoral reform - then we can get back to the ridiculous circus of party politics - and the restitution of the lira. 

" .........  a technical govt is the only way forward - at least it can make some unpopular decision (reimpose ICI, tax on foreign bank accounts and patrimonio) ........ " Oh that they would - but think about it .......... Clamp down on the 'Black Economy'? - I don't think so Cut Pensions [10% would be OK, but 25% would be better]? - I don't think so Sack thousands of Civil Servants? - I don't think so Reduce ALL wages by at least 10%? - I don't think so etc etc Blame the rest of Europe? = probably Not pass any changes that would harm their chances of re-election - probably .....Outlook?  ........Poor

In reality, it won't happen BUT, I'm keeping only a minimal amount of cash here ! IF IF it was to happen, I think we would lose 30% of the value of any cash we have in bank accounts here? Having said that, I'm sure we are a long long way from that? S